Subjective Cognitive Decline

Subjective Cognitive Decline
An emerging field of research in Alzheimer’s is centered on the personal reporting of the patient regarding his own cognitive impairment known as “subjective cognitive decline.” Many people who have gone on to develop full blown Alzheimer’s disease were the first to notice that something was amiss. Self-awareness and self-reporting could be the first line of diagnosis.

This does not mean that you if you slammed the door and realized that you forgot your keys or if you forgot someone’s name, you are developing mild cognitive impairment and need to see a doctor according to Dr. Reisa Sperling, director of the Alzheimer's Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital. However, if you are having trouble retrieving words or balancing a checkbook (when you always balanced the checkbook), then it might be time for a neurological evaluation.

When my father was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, he was the first to report that something was wrong with his mind. Since this was about twenty-five years ago, my mother and I pooh-poohed it, thinking it was merely a bit of senility. However, he turned out to be a prophet. Then when my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it was preceded by an event which she reported to me. My mother felt unnerved by it. She explained that she had somehow lost 7checks in the post office where she was filling out a deposit slip; she simply blanked out and left. At that time I hoped it was a brain tumor, but sadly it Alzheimer’s.

Having two parents with Alzheimer’s, I have been given the following gifts:
  • Live in the moment because the moment is all that some of us have. Know that one moment can be bad and the next moment can be good.
  • Maintain a sound body to have a sound mind. Be heart smart.
  • Exercise!!! Exercise creates neuroplasticity. Build up brain cell reserve with strength training and aerobics. Each type of workout fortifies memory differently.
  • Keep learning new things and go on adventures. Human beings thrive on the novel.
  • Keep your friends close.
  • Manage your stress. The inflammation wreaks havoc on memory. When people are stressed, they become forgetful.
And if you or someone you love has developed subjective cognitive decline, there could be a treatment on the horizon in the form of a clinical trial. Also, some people with mild cognitive decline are Vitamin B- 12 deficient, or not balanced hormonally. A simple pill or shot restores the mind.
For more information on caregiving read my book, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show

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